30 October 2008

I'll help in other ways this time

How differently I parent from the ways my parents brought me up! The inciting incident for this thought was a blast email from a friend asking if any of us had a bed we could spare for some political volunteers who are coming a-canvassing in our fair swing state this weekend. I really wanted to write back and offer our guest room. But we had just been reading On the Shores of Silver Lake, one of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie books, and in it Laura describes how suddenly their little home became a lodging house for all these men who were coming through on their way to claim homesteads. One night they'd have a few men pull up who had nowhere else to stay, so they fed them and gave them beds; the Ingalls girls had to go up to their room and stay there until the men left in the morning. Sometimes they were up until the wee hours cooking for as many at 15 men, in shifts of meals and dishes. They had to put them in the barns and outside sometimes; their little home didn't house 15. I know I probably don't have to worry about an Obama volunteer in my house now, but the facts are that I have a child whose innocence I am guarding with my life, and I know what can happen when parents aren't so careful with their kids. So not this time.

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